|03-05-2014 05:27 PM|
Pongu (the Insane) is my first dog, my first sport partner, and my Number One Favorite Dog in the Whole Entire World (as I tell him constantly every day). I adopted him at four months old from a city shelter; he'll be 4 in April. His previous owner, a college kid who wasn't supposed to have any pets, moved out and abandoned the puppy in his apartment. Pongu had a broken foot at the time, so there was probably some abuse or at least severe neglect going on there.
Pongu is a terrible dog. He is severely, genetically fearful. In the rare moments when he's not just scared out of his mind, he is a complete jealous jerkface. We have worked through a full spectrum of behavioral issues together: separation anxiety, fear aggression, fear/anxiety generally. And his underlying personality is still terrible.
He hates other dogs, he hates kids, he hates my husband. He will walk up to my husband and bite him for no reason, just as sort of a "screw you" throughout the day. He regularly raids my husband's trash can and tears up his garbage out of (as best we can tell, anthropomorphic as it is) vengeful spite and a delusional belief that my husband is somehow hoarding up used Kleenexes and discarded grocery-store receipts as precious, precious treasures. Once when my husband was on vacation and Pongu was allowed to sleep in the bed, he tried to rip out my husband's side of the sheets. It was an impressively specific tear pattern.
I don't bother to fix any of those things, because I'm a horrible person and they make me laugh. Pongu loves me, and I love him. He is extremely smart, he works as hard as he can to do whatever I ask of him, and he got me hooked on competition sports. On our good runs, the connection we share in the ring is like nothing else.
Despite his many, many limitations (which I've talked about at length in my dedicated thread o' whines), and despite our shared inexperience, Pongu has done pretty well for himself overall. 2013 was his first full year in competition, and he finished it ranked #1 nationally in his World Cynosport Rally division. He is, provisionally, the #9 WCRL dog overall and the #1 mixed-breed dog in the sport for 2013.
I'm proud of him and look forward to seeing what else we can achieve together. He is my special little guy.
Then there's Crookytail, our Akita mix, who is about three years old. He comes from Robeson County, North Carolina, where he was picked up as a stray and dropped in a high-kill shelter. I adopted him because I was told he was a 45-pound Aussie mix and might be a good sport candidate. He turned out to be an 85-pound Akita mix (although he was 45 pounds at the time he entered the shelter, that was because he was starved down to skin and bones) with zero performance potential whatsoever.
Crooky is a wonderful pet dog. He is sweet, stable, affectionate, gentle. He has perfect house manners, never barks, is happy to play as long as you want or sleep if you're not doing anything. He is a creature of joyful doggy exuberance and love. I wrote him into an upcoming novel as a major character just because he's so darn charming.
But as a sport dog he's a washout, poor guy. He's not smart, he's easily discouraged, he has no edge. Crookytail cannot compete on the level I'd like to ask of him -- he wants to, with every fiber of his being, but he simply doesn't have the ability -- and our relationship is not what it should be, owing to that mismatch between dog and person. My husband loves him tremendously, though, so Crooky sticks around as his dog. Not mine.
So that's my crew: the world's worst dog, whom I love and cherish because he'll do his little nerd sports, and the world's nicest dog, whom I would rehome in a heartbeat if I could.
|03-05-2014 02:09 PM|
Tulah is still just a baby at only 4ish months, but so far she is proving to be quite alright She gave me a run for my money in the beginning and really tested my training and my patience, but has proven that sticking it out was worth it. She is my first Malinois and I think will be the dog to really push my training ability to the limit. She fits in really well with the rest of my little family and has so far been the cuddliest puppy and most affectionate out of any of them. She has plenty of drive and a wonderful little personality to match. Carma and Tulah and best friends and get along (and tire each other out) wonderfully. I hope it stays that way, but for now, we will enjoy it while we can. She has started her foundation in IPO, and I'm excited to see what we accomplish together as she grows.
|03-05-2014 02:00 PM|
Then came Carma. After all my troubles training with Aiden, I was sure that I wanted a large, strong, male working line dog for my next puppy, preferably black and tan. And I somehow ended up with a tiny, sable, long coated female. I guess sometimes, exactly what you need isn't always exactly what you expected.
This dog is absolutely incredible. She has grown into everything I could have ever wanted and it has been a breeze since day 1. She loves anything and everything and would do anything that involved a toy or a ball or just fun in general. She was made to work. We have gotten a puppy show rating, dabbled in agility, and trained heavily for IPO. I have a whole lot of hopes for this dog and hope we can make it far together. She is everything I wanted in my sport puppy, even though I never saw it coming.
She is so silly and happy, although very serious in her training. You'll be hard pressed to get a tail wag in tracking or protection, because to her it is very serious business. It never stops in obedience or agility though, and she is so incredibly happy working out there with me. She settles wonderfully in the house and recently graduated to sleeping in my bed, because I just can't say no to all that fluff. It comes as a surprise to some people who have met her on the IPO field, because she is so crazy for the work, but she really is an excellent little house dog. I don't think I will ever find another dog who has made training in this sport as easy as Carma has made it for me.
|03-05-2014 01:41 PM|
Too many pics, so I will do one for each dog.
Aiden is my heart dog. He is from someone I consider a BYB, and has some nerve issues and had been put through some pretty crappy training before I knew any better. I got him at around 5ish months old while I was working at a veterinary hospital, after he was returned by his first owner. He was pretty sick and had some general behavior issues that he overcame quickly with a little TLC. We've had our fair share of failures, but we managed to get IPO3 two times and our FH this past December at 4 years old. He is now retired from IPO (mostly), but will continue to come with us to club training and get some fun bites to teach new helpers how its done I may decide to get his AD and breed survey for our club's conformation show in the fall.
I love this dog on a level that I can't really relate to my other dogs. He got me involved in sport and training and really sparked a huge passion for something that has become such an important pice of my life, that I can't thank him enough for. I feel an immense amount of guilt for allowing the type of training we had in the beginning go on for so long, but his love for me has never wavered. And even when I know he really didn't want to continue, he has always done so because he knows it is what I wanted from him. He is an absolutely incredible, once in a lifetime dog.
He is incredibly serious. Its a rare occasion to find this dog in a goofy moment. But he is also very, very sweet. He doesn't like to be hugged on all the time, but always wants to be at my feet, always watching. Believe it or not, he is actually pretty lazy. He doesn't have the type of drive that is suitable for sport and makes an excellent house pet. He is protective of his property, but is very happy to otherwise just lie on the couch all day. He will try anything that I ask of him, and hardly acknowledges the presence of anyone else but me.
I'm pretty sure this dog would give his life for me and I will be absolutely devastated when he is gone. He is my best friend.
|03-05-2014 01:24 PM|
I've had several dogs, but I'll just do the last one and the current one.
Prior to Rocket, I had this dog. He did not start out as one I ever thought would steal my heart the way he did. In many ways, he will be the single best dog I've ever or will ever have. I miss him terribly. He was a serious working lab, very different from the goofy, brainless depictions you hear of Labradors. This does not mean he wasn't friendly or that he was nervy. He was absolutely ROCK solid. He was an incredible dog, and when I hear the term 'genetic obedience', I think of him immediately. Once you have it, it's very difficult to ever have anything else. He was so fabulous I don't know if I could even find one thing wrong. Well, except his shedding. Oh, and he hated running.
He did my bidding before the words even came out of my mouth. He couldn't care less what was going on around him, who and what dogs were around, he only had eyes for me, and then his family, then our accepted circle. I could trust him with brand new kittens, baby turtles, he even once brought us a baby squirrel that had been kicked out of it's nest; so gently, there wasn't a mark on it. Once a strange dog came silently barreling off the road towards my daughter, at the time about 10, who was out playing football while I watched in the front yard. He shot towards that dog like a silent rocket and shoulder-slammed it to the ground (a big black lab mix) and then stood over it, making teeth visible and low-growling while the owner was freaking out. He used to get between my kids and the UPS guys coming down the driveway--never acting aggressive, not making a sound, just walking alongside the kids, keeping an eye on the dudes. They used to tell me he was quite impressive the way he would eye them. I could have taken him anywhere in the world without a collar on. When he died, we truly grieved. The look in my children's eyes, when they would stare into mine, was one that I'll never forget. He was their first lesson in heartbreak and losing something you loved deeply. My gut hurts still thinking about it. This was him:
Then we got Rocket. Let's just suffice it to say that I wish I'd known then what I know now, but Rocket is a great dog. He is also rock-solid, he is my go-anywhere, do-anything dog. He absolutely is my backpacking, hiking, running dog. He is the best running companion ever. He is appropriately serious, watchful, and confident, but he is trustworthy (as trustworthy as a 2.5 year old GSD can be, heh). He is not one to start fights, but I suspect he will be happy to finish them. He is great at dog language, loves cats (a little too much). He goes shooting with us, thunderstorms are a non-issue, he could care less about fireworks, except for wanting to chase the 'Flowers'. He teaches bite-prevention classes with me for our school district (as did the Lab and my prior dog), can handle a crowd of thousands on Halloween, 4th of July, you name it without batting an eye. Crosses cattle guards, metal mesh staircases way out in BFE, like I said-- we can go anywhere, do anything.
I just certified for our Sheriff's dept SAR. The director of the dog team as well as the head deputy have met Rocket and encourage me to bring him to training and be fully evaluated, (ok, they keep hounding me) but I'm not sure I'm going to do that yet, as it's such a HUGE financial and time commitment with the dog team, and I have three teenagers at home, including a graduating senior and a seasonal job where I work 60 hours a week in season (7-8 months a year). Maybe next fall, or down the road.
That said, he is fun, he is goofy, he is affectionate, and he is not as genetically obedient as my Lab. This has made training more challenging for me, and frankly, I wish I had more gumption and resources to do more with him. I think with a better owner, he would be quite capable of doing many things, but I guess he'll just have to suffice with climbing mountains and running mileage.
( Rocket's first climb, to 7,714 ft)
|03-05-2014 01:16 PM|
Echo is my crappy BYB lovebug. He's an absolute disaster, but he's still my heart and soul. He's completely changed the way I see the world. He's four and I hope he lives forever He struggles with some health issues and crappy nerves, but he's the smartest dog I've ever met and a great friend. He also enjoys poetry and long walks on the beach at sunset.
Delta is coming up 16 weeks. She's got a killer nose on her, and I look forward to doing a lot of tracking and IPO with her. She will also actively work livestock on our farm. This is my first really well-bred dog, so watching her progress is really exciting. She's very drivey and a lot sharper than Echo was as a puppy, but she's really sweet and has a huge personality for a little pup.
|03-05-2014 12:37 PM|
|03-05-2014 12:30 PM|
|03-05-2014 12:25 PM|
|03-05-2014 12:13 PM|
Pegasus is my wild child! He is a white siberian husky I rescued off of craigslist at seven weeks. He was knocking on deaths door. He had severe roundworms and was lacking proper nutrition. He was food aggressive when I brought him home. We worked hard to gain his trust and love. He now loves everyone he meets and is thriving!
Athena is my long coat shepherd and my heart dog!! She is truly the best dog I have ever owned. Athena loves everyone she meets and enjoys being out and socializing. We are working on her CGC and hoping to become a therapy dog after her 1st birthday!
Sinister Black is pure landshark!! He is the smartest little burger out there! He loves to train and has a toy drive like no other! I hope to involve him in shutzhund when he is older! He starts puppy class this Saturday, super excited for his future! He is a great boy!
Sinister @14 weeks
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